Dana Yarbro knows how to keep secrets. From the time she was born she was schooled by her Mother and Father that she is not to let people know about her homelife. She is the secret daughter of a married man. Even though her Mother made her Father cross the line into Alabama to marry her--they couldn't marry in Georgia because he was already married--Dana knew that she was illegitimate, no matter what her parents said. Even more troubling is that her Father has a daughter, Chaurisse, the same age as Dana.
The first half of the book is told from Dana's viewpoint up until her teens. Because they both live in the same part of Atlanta, the daughters apply to the same schools. But it is the legitimate daughter who gets all of the perks. For instance, Dana loves science and her teachers suggest she apply to the science magnet school to get the advanced instruction that will help her get into medical school when she grows up. But Chaurisse has also applied. So their Father asks Dana to withdraw her application. This continues to happen throughout Dana's life and it embitters her and her Mother.
The second half of the book is told from the viewpoint of Chaurisse, her Father's legitimate daughter, who is only a few months older than Dana. All of the lies that Dana's parents have told her force her into learning more about this other daughter. Her Mother has told her that Chaurisse is mentally a little slow, she is not attractive, and she will never do anything with her life. Dana needs to find out if that is true. But as Chaurisse tells her story, Dana learns its nothing like what she has been told both good and bad.
This is the story of family secrets and the ruinous effect on the children of having to keep these secrets. The story moves along at a fairly quick pace. The development of the characters, especially the daughters, is very good. You will know them and feel for the women they become.